Wall Street Underwhelms as Earnings Take Center-Stage

Michael Teague  |

Wall Street was lower by Wednesday’s closing bell, as recent worries about D.C. politics and Treasury spending gave way to earnings results from the recently-ended third quarter.

After yet another run of four consecutive record closes, The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index cooled off by 0.47 percent to 1,746.38, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.35 percent lower to 15,413.33, with the NASDAQ taking the biggest hit, a loss of 0.57 percent, closing at 3,907.07.

The only real success to speak of on the Dow was aerospace/defense titan Boeing (BA) , whose shares were up over 5 percent after the company reported a substantial jump in quarterly profits and raised guidance for the fourth quarter. Construction machinery producer Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) , offered up the diametrically opposite performance, however, after shares were over 6 percent off after coming up short of earnings expectations and slashing forecasts.

The S&P 500 meanwhile was pulled under by the number-six oil & gas services company FMC Technologies (FTI) , whose shares were off almost 9 percent by the close as the company missed on top and bottom  lines, despite its earnings statement showing significant year-over-year growth. The highest-volume losses were reserved for tech stocks, particularly those of semiconductor manufacturers such as Micron Technology (MU) , Broadcom Corp. (BRCM) , and Intel (INTC) . One of the few bright spots on the index was electronics firm Corning (GLW) , who ended the day 14 percent higher after releasing a strong Q3 earnings statement and announcing a joint venture with Samsung Electronics to produce LCD glass.

The NASDAQ saw the $2.17 billion REIT American Realty Capital Properties (ARCP) take the most heavily traded loss of the day, 2 percent, after announcing a merger with Cole Real Estate Investments (COLE) . The latter ended the day nearly 9 percent higher.

Semiconductors were also a big drag, however, with Cree Inc. (CREE) , Applied Materials (AMAT) , and Altera Corp. (ALTR) all ending the day on heavy losses. Diversified toy-manufacturer JAKKS Pacific, however, gained over 25 percent by the end of trading after cost-cutting measures saw the company’s Q3 earnings and revenue firmly ahead of estimates. Shares for drug manufacturer Amgen Inc. (AMGN) pared back about 0.50 percent of the previous day’s gains

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